tagNonHumanChosen Mate Ch. 12

Chosen Mate Ch. 12

byHarryHill©

Harry's notes: chapter 12. The last in this book save for an epilogue and some notes I made for myself, yeah, you too, but mostly me to explain to myself the possible existence of the race of Fay, enough. *sigh*

This one will rip your balls off, twist your tits, break your heart, make you wonder what the next book will bring or I will have failed and you lost.


*

Eleanor met Edgar at the hanger as she did just before dawn each morning. She led him away to her bower for food, wine, and her soothing ministrations, chattering away as they ate, drank, and did other things; he was unspeaking this morning. There were no savage, hating declarations made; no exclamations of pleasure escaped him during their brief joining; not even a yes or no dropped from his lips to her questions. She helped him shower and then watched in worry from the hanging vines that covered her door as he left for the hanger. She brought the stick in with her as she turned to her rooms.

Edgar returned to the hanger where he was a constant inhabitant of the R&D sections. He was usually ignored while he studied Harry's sketchbooks, made molds from the carbon filament fabric that comprised the skin and framework of the LTA, or just walked around it as an animal would the bars of a cage that held some joint of meat, smelled but unreachable.

Working on his assigned craft by day and flying nightly as he was accustomed, he flew as long as there was fuel to keep his craft airborne; then, he brought it to the hanger, silently, with small applications of the battery powered steerage that was his own contribution to the 'OWL' class of LTA's. He would talk for hours with the pilots that flew the seemingly endless permutations of crafts. They listened intently to stories of his nightly flights over the island in the Endless Sea as he waited for the return of the Shining People. His words created a sense of assimilation of the moving air that was extraordinary.

--And then as you turn and breathe the rushing air upon your beak, you lift your head, soaring high above the surface of the water. At last you let your eye search the depths where the land waits for your return. A beat of wings there, high in the sky, and you descend, gliding in the current of the air as a fish navigates the streams and rivers. He was silent as he sent them the movements from his mind. His thought was soft for those that left with the intent to visit the island, spread auras wide free to the sun that shone there, fly.

--Oh, if our birds could only feel the air on them as we do in flight, Edgar said one morning as dawn's arrival ended their practice of running scenario after scenario to hone their skills as Edgar did the ancient iron artifact from the temple during the day

He worked far into the day after Dry Run, preparing the new Owl for the night to come. He fitted the last component, the integral one to his new modifications. Climbing into the cockpit he flipped a switch; there was a soft whine as some mechanism moved in the craft. He deplaned again and smiled in satisfaction at the smooth nose of the craft.

He spent the rest of the day sitting in the open doorway of Harry's shop. Pale green aura crackling in the charging waves of the sun, he ran a wet stone over and over the gleaming edges of the old iron weapon. Fay worked on leather goods behind him. The rasp of the stone was the only sound in shop and mind until the day turned dark. Eleanor watched him vanish into the night from the shadows of the field, tears falling from her eyes.

***



Edgar floated out of a velvet sky in a tight, flat spiral toward the roof of River base. The Dreamer would be there, waiting, watching, looking into the dark moonless night for the air ship as it descended, invisible and silent. There were no other flights over the bowl of Memphis' airspace. The police bands were normal, as far as normal could be for the old city, sprawling over three state lines. There were no flights arriving or departing from the restricted airs to the south. It was a beautiful night to hunt.

Details appeared below; increasing the magnification of his screen he saw Harry on the rooftop, searching the skies. This will be too easy Edgar thought. He studied the face that looked for the sleek lines of the LTA with a pained hungry look. His heart dripped a tear into a venganced fired heart for the man who had never been in the fruit of his dream. Edgar was close enough now and he called.

--Har ri na, I greet you; do you see us yet? He saw the man's face light up, eyes run over the lines of the Owl, descending like a snowflake.

--Yes Ed ga ri, is this the new one? The craft drifted down into the hands of its handlers. Too easy, Edgar thought again smiling.

--Yes, Dreamer, it is; let me clear the cockpit and I will show you. There are plantings in the crew compartment, Guardian. Make sure they get to your poor bath. She moved under the wings as Edgar dropped the cockpit door and called to Harry.

--Hand this to someone Dreamer. It is the last of your mating wine. Silas sends it and asks if you have attacked any steps bareheaded lately. Come up. Harry clambered in with a smile, sitting in the co-pilots seat, eyes examining the instrumentation.

--Just the one that our Lady keeps with her, Oldman said in challenge. Edgar ignored Oldman, concentrating on Harry as his eyes darted from one fascinating device to another.

--Buckle in Har ri na. I will show you the new features. The door closed quietly. ...Excuse me while I check with Guardian.

--Is cargo clear, Guardian? Mira moved from under the wing calling to him.

--Cargo is clear, she said, as the last of the plants were hurried away to the steps below. The crew door slid shut with a quiet smooth slide; the bi-fold locked.

--Say skies; here was the catch. He turned to Harry, keeping him in his sight as Mira answered.

--Clean air, you may egress when ready, Owl.

--Release! Harry looked up with a start as the cockpit rolled to horizontal and he felt the lift; turning he saw Edgar smile with glee hold a finger to lips and forehead. Harry gaped with both mouth and sudden mental realization that his silent conversation with Mira on the island above the Endless Sea was known.

--His eyes are as sharp as his mind, Harry, Oldman cackled delightedly in his thoughts.

--What say you, Har ri na, once around the city? Harry gazed raptly into the screens that showed Memphis dwindling below them. He smiled, matching Edgars grin tooth for tooth. They followed the river north as Edgar explained switches and dials.

***



Mira watched the Owl vanish into the dark sky. She looked for Harry and then searched the collective awareness of the Fay moving about the roof. She gazed into the sky where nothing showed.

--Guardian reports... Mira stopped, not knowing what she was reporting.

--What is it? Sandra asked, consulting the clock that ran in all minds as Operation Darkness neared the final moments before beginning. Time was short now, very short, and timing was everything.

--Dreamer is aboard Owl. Leon's call came then. Sandra stepped solidly on the stone tumbling about her feet, refusing to stumble on the obstacle. 'Oldman, listen.'

--Target is leaving blue dot. Cast net, Darkness is enabled. A question hovered in Oldman's thought.

--What's Darkness? Oldman asked, and then added. ...Do you know where are?

--Yes, she answered quickly, and explained the operation to eliminate the Formorian.

--The same one that keeps showing up, Edgar is right. Harry is going to want to see this. What do you want us to do? She was quiet so long Oldman said. ...You know I can hear you smiling, don't you?

--Just sit back and enjoy the show, she said, ...don't blink. Leon called again.

--Shake bushes; the assignation team drew close to the Formorian's Mercedes. Oldman turned from Sandra's thoughts and began communicating rapidly with Harry.

***



The Formorian's first attack of panic came when he recognized the two men in the car stopped beside him as the ones from the accident last night that argued with such passion; a screech of braking rubber to his right whipped his head around. Two more watched from their flanking vehicle; they were members of the hairy man's security detail from the hotel last night.

His next attack jolted his nervous system when he realized what they were as they dropped their illusions and showed their true forms and cold intentions.

His black heart pounded as he drove his car forward, screaming tires through the red light. Things got really bad for him as he tried his cell phone and had no service. He sped away over the streets toward his house. The lights of the pursuing vehicles were close behind.

***



Harry listened to the report by Oldman on the events that were ending his first adrenaline filled ride on a LTA and replacing it with the rushing force of his awareness as it searched the limits of the operation. He located the teams driving the Formorian before them; the Mercedes sped past the gated entrance to the estates.

The guard came out, looking after the speeding vehicle that usually arrived around this time of night. He turned and looked the opposite way at the quiet empty street.

"He must be in a hurry tonight," the guard said to the night, then went back to his paper as the Fay infiltrated unseen.

--Target has arrived. Enable containment. Harry and Edgar dropped slowly from the sky as the Formorian pulled into the drive of the sprawling home and rushed inside. ...Target is isolated. Cut communication and power. The assassination team spread over the shadowed grounds.

The Formorian ran to the phone; it was dead. The lights went out. He clutched a pistol in his fist and waited in a chair for his victims.

--The Black One belongs to Owl, Edgar growled, bringing the LTA down to float in the tree tops that adjoined the estate. He drew the cold iron sword from a scabbard behind the seat and descended with the tether line. Harry pressed the hold station button on the console then watched Edgar run across the yard and into the shadows surrounding the house.

--Owl is infiltrating. Oldman sent. ...Hold containment.

The Formorian felt the hatred before he heard the back door give with a crack. The hate moved through the house, searching for him. He raised the pistol from his hiding place in the darkness beside the telephone and lamp that were useless to him as the hate moved closer; it suddenly had a shape, silloueted in the doorway of the living room. He emptied his pistol in it. The muzzle flashes illuminated the Black One as his bullets smashed into Edgar's armor.

"There you are sly one," Edgar said, advancing toward the panic-stricken being. He raised his sword and his aura; green light shone bright in the room as he stood over him. "Feel the taste of iron as my father did." It fell, shearing through the upraised arms and deep into the neck. One more stroke and the head rolled free from its body to join the severed hands on the floor. "Heal that," Edgar said extinguishing his aura and walking outside.

Harry heard the sound of gunfire; a long burst came from the shattered doorway. He saw green light pour from the house; then all went dark. Moments later Edgar retraced his passage across the yard; a few more steps and he was scrambling up the tether and into the cockpit, sheathing his blood stained sword and clicking equally blood stained armor into the pilot's harness. Blood dripped from a long gouge on his cheekbone.

--That is going to scar, Oldman said as Harry's wide eyes looked at the gore. Edgar grimaced against the pain of the burning wound and spoke to the Dreamers companion.

--There would be more than scars if not for my armor, Oldman. Cold iron was in the weapons he threw at me. His hands moved swiftly over the controls. The LTA began to rise over the trees and away from the estate.

--Owl sends, a grin formed on his lips ...Darkness has fallen, rcovery can begin. The grin was chiseled on his face; satisfaction dripped from his thoughts like the blood did from his armor and cheek. Harry watched the hurrying shapes enter the house that fell away below them as they gained altitude.

--Street Watch sends. Bad air, Bad air! The warning was too late.

***



It was a chance encounter, really. The co-pilot was looking out the window at the estates below as they banked toward the distant landing lights at Millington; he saw the X of a strange object moving impossibly over the houses below and toward a strip of trees that led off toward the river. The pilot kept the jet tilted as they made a long wide curve back toward Memphis. "It's over the river, the co-pilot said. "What in God's name is it?" He craned to keep it in his sight as the pilot maneuvered the canopy lower than the object.

"Cameras on," said the pilot as they thundered over the river toward the spinning shape above it. "Cameras running, three clicks to bogey. Negative radar return, FLIR shows only background heat, requesting weapons free." They never got an answer.

Edgar tried to lose them as he skulked away over the trees that led to the only hiding place possible that would be able to mask them; the rows of trees along the riverbanks and the dark water that flowed between them were the only choice.

Far down the river, Harry saw the jet turning in their screens. He looked where Edgar was busy with controls. A gleam of fanatic insanity raged in his eyes.

--See now the power of the old ones, Dreamer. The sword given me by my father sits in this ship as it did in my scabbard. Behold, as I draw that sword in protection of the people again. There was a noise in the craft as something moved in answer to the switches that were flipped.

"Edgar, you bastard; you don't have to do this," Harry yelled as Edgar spun the craft and applied thrust; it started to rise in the air from the surface of the river with increased rotation like a gigantic whirly-gig.

Harry felt the G-force of the latest generation of LTA cockpit as it spun opposite the movement of the craft, pressing him back into the seat. He got heavier and Oldman began talking about gravity; Harry screamed in his mind for him to shut up. All he could move were his eyes; they stared with horror as the jet grew in the sky. There was nothing for Harry to do but watch as it rushed toward them.

--They saw me, Edgar snarled. ...See me again Black dogs. He touched the screen in front of him; it centered on the jet as it roared back toward the strange object that glittered in the moonless night air above the river.

--Now see my sword; his bared teeth and deadly thought were focused on the jet. Edgar canceled the spin and thrust, engaging station keeping.

The glittering stopped; now the jet raced toward a short fat black line floating over the river, waiting for them. Edgar touched something on the console; green light glowed in his armor flowing out the hand on the console. The night turned to day with the light that sprang toward the jet.

It disintegrated with the blast of a 4th of July firework exploding. The pieces that rained down on the river below them were not large. The incandescant light faded from the sky, leaving a cloud drifting aimlessly. There were small noises as if pebbles struck the craft.

--Owl sends, the air is clean. Harry's stone face looked as the last splatters rained over the surface of the river, then bent forward, vomiting on the floor. Harry spat and sent his own message as the LTA moved high in the sky, distancing itself from the destruction.

--Dreamer sends, our water is dirty. The stone seeks the foot, Dreamer out. The careful retreat back to the Fringe was canceled when they were retasked to Home. Harry and Oldman's thoughts regarded each other in silence until the one that could slip away did so, dropping away from Harry's thoughts on a long golden string to report to Sandra as she delt with the successful assassinations botched exfiltration.

Yellow light showed on the console. Edgar flipped switches, turned the LTA on its tail and applied maximum thrust. It became cold rapidly as they sought altitude for the long glide to Backwater.

***



The reporter looked into the camera with a serious expression on his face.

"This just in from Memphis, a Navy jet has apparently exploded in the air over the Mississippi river just moments ago on its final approach to Millington Naval Air Station. There is no word on what caused the accident. A Navy representative says that mechanical failure is not being ruled out but would not speculate further. The continuing reports of an alien spacecraft are being rejected by the air force; more on this story as it develops. In other news...

Margay rushed out of the room.

***



--River sends, Alpha, say again, Alpha. Darkness has fallen. Dreamer, Owl, Dirty Water, the stone seeks the foot, standing by. Owl sends, Broken Feather.

Wayne moved to the table, bringing up the westward map. The Formorian was dead but something had gone horribly wrong. Was it possible the LTA had gone down in the river? Why was Harry with Edgar during the operation? Daniel barked with agitation.

--We stumble on another stone. Send, how dirty is the water? Wayne became busy with the inquiry. Daniel turned to his air commander. ...Ma-kel-li, recall all birds. None fly tonight but the Owl. Send, Owl Dreams of Home and rushes there.

--River sends, very dirty. Filtering beginning, all call signs, Owl flies slow, Wayne reported. Margay came flying across the Great Hall in a white blur, calling Daniel.

***



Gerry climbed swiftly to the roof, looking up river to view the sky when Bad Air was repeated. There was a bright flash over the river followed by short silence then a thundering reverberation as sound caught up with sight, leaving a large cloud suspended over the river. Now Gerry clawed among the accumulated debris of the river bottom; there were others there, also combing the river for any remnants of the jet that fell from the sky

--Hurry, he sent to the shapes that moved up river with him. They searched for any wreckage that showed signs of fusing from the released pulse of energy. ...Time is short. Bury the larger pieces down river in the mud under debris. Look for recording devices and recover them. Already, he could see the spotlights of the helicopters, searching over the surface, moving closer to the site of the jets scattered remains.

***



They had not spoken since he sent his warning to River. Edgar sat with a self-satisfied smile on his face during the uneventful forty-five minute flight while Harry shivered in the cold with the stench of vomit thick in his nose. Now Harry and Edgar drifted down out of the sky and over the field behind the shop. Edgar turned the movable vent tubes located in nose, tail, and wing tips downward; using the force of the redirected thrust he brought the craft above the field as a helicopter did.

The loss of the lifting gas, when the envelopes were holed in the jets explosion gave the LTA real weight. A crash would be a serious test of the carbon fiber lightweight. Harry tightened his seatbelt, looked to the flashing warning light of the fuel gauge, then Edgar, calm as he brought the wounded bird to its perch.

--Owl is coming in heavy; clear the landing bay.

--We are ready for you, Ed gar ri. Make your best approach.

Harry looked in the screen that showed Max running over the field, barking and jumping in circles as if he knew Harry was aboard. He shivered as the worst of the cold relented in the warm air as the craft descended.

--Maxi, Maxamillion, he sent as the dog chased the LTA over the field. They passed below and landed with a soft jolt. The hanger crew began separating wings and fuselage in preparation for racking the craft with the scores of others against the back wall of the hanger, while noting the holes and damage in the flight log. Harry walked toward the warehouse under the shop, meaning to pass through and see his dog that had waited for his return these past two weeks.

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